Amann Threads: Going beyond just fashion
“Our focus in the thread business goes way beyond fashion applications and colours,” avers Barbara Binder, Global Marketing Director, Amann Group. The strategy is on catering to the challenging requirements from automotive to fashion sector. “We are not just a sewing thread company because our products are also related to fixing, binding, technical embroideries, etc. Amann stands for intelligent threads, which means continuous research for product improvement or product innovation and creative application concepts. Custom-made solutions are developed to cater for individual industrial requirements such as in composites or automotive. In fashion, we have channelized our efforts towards creating softer and more functional seams that are conductive, water resistant, elastic, and many others,” Barbara elaborates.
For the US market, Amann has been gaining traction in the technical and automotive sector across all applications. The company has been catering to the US market through its local subsidiary. The products for the market however are manufactured mainly at its factories in the UK and Germany. The key product for these segments of the market is Oxcel, a PA 6.6 continuous filament with a special and extremely even bond suitable for the highest safety requirements such as for airbags. For all outdoor applications the suitable product is new Serabond UV. The thread boasts of extreme durability. As it is resistant to untwisting and is suited for multi-directional sewing. The thread also has an outstanding UV resistance due to special dye stuffs and lubrication.
Another offering from Amann for the US market is its famous brand Serafil – for closing and decorative seams for shoes, leather and automotive interior. The thread is unique as it comes with a noble soft sheen, high seam strength, and reliable sewing performance with perfect stitch formation which is particularly important where every stitch is clearly visible.
Duerkopp Adler, KSL and PFAFF showcase full automation solutions for cuff manufacturing
Innovative production possibilities is the order for Texprocess exhibits. Living up to the expectation was Duerkopp Adler, KSL and PFAFF Industrial’s jointly developed exhibit, CUFF 2015 – the first robotic sewing unit.
As the name suggests, the unit is designed to automate the cuff sewing process in three fully automated units and steps. With sewing unit 971-01 the cuffs are automatically run-stitched, cut and stacked to be turned and pressed to shape. In the last step, the cuffs are taken out of a magazine in the robot. By the means of a ‘Vision System’, they are recognized, precisely aligned, topstitched and stacked.
The easy operation of the unit guarantees short training times so that high fluctuations of labour and related attritions can be compensated. Being highly automated, the seam quality is reproducible, and the camera-based positioning enables precise alignment of edges.
As the company gears up for exciting launches in the following months, Bernd Bräuer, Head of Sales & Marketing, Duerkopp Adler feels that automation for apparel industry will soon realize its full potential. “The most interesting part about robotics in apparel manufacturing is the fact that the robot required for this industry is a small-sized one. Thus, no fences for safety are required and the operators can really work together with the robot, which indicates the exciting possibilities in store,” opines Bräuer.
Morgan Tecnica presents automation for real time nesting
For long, nesting has been reserved as a mandatory feature for CAD software packages and it has rarely been experimented with. In order to enrich the possibilities of nesting, Morgan Tecnica – the Italian manufacturer of CAD/CAM technology for apparel industry – unveiled ‘Visual Nest’ at the show. Visual Nest is a system for viewing and editing markers in real time, directly on the spreading table. Designed to help the manual spreading of striped and checked fabrics on the needle table, the software and hardware package of Visual Nest uses the projection of the grid of the theoretical repeat ratios.
“Usually the nesting is done in the CAD room on the software and then the marker is laid on the lay. Often the marker does not match the patterns on the lay and re-adjustments have to be made,” shares D Anandakumar, Director – G A Morgan Dynamics Pvt. Ltd. (a subsidiary of Morgan Tecnica Spa). Visual Nest also proves suitable for verification of location of defects, and splicing in manual spreading of patterned or solids fabrics. Since the Visual Nest projects both – the theoretical repeat lines and the entire marker, it highlights the possible centring points, which allow the operator to work directly on the lays to drag and rotate every pattern as required to make the best use of quality fabric. The Visual Nest (Hardware and Software) can also be retrofitted on any of the existing CAD/CAM installation in a factory’s cutting room. The projection area for each projector is 3.5m by 2m and it is possible to control multiple projectors simultaneously. The same file can be used by the cutter which minimizes the time and cost for cutting.
In another adroit intervention for the cutting room, Morgan Tecnica exhibited an automation solution for feeding rolls to the spreader. When a roll is exhausted, the operator can choose for the next roll to be loaded. The feeder finds immense application when used for spreading stepped lays. “At Morgan, the idea is to evolve the automation of the cutting room to such an extent that all that the operator should do is check the output. The machine has to run by itself,” concludes Anandakumar.
Eastman launches new high-capacity spreader
Participating at Texprocess, Eastman launched Saber C-Series E™ – a computerized, cradle feed machine with smooth operating material spreading system capable of handling material rolls up to 2,200 lb. (1,000 kg) and 50 inches in diameter. Manufactured in Buffalo, New York (USA), the Saber C-Series E Spreading system offers three spreading modes – face-up with knife, face-to-face with knife, and face-to-face with catchers.
A newly integrated touchscreen is an upgrade from the antiquated push buttons and minimal computer-assisted prompts. The new display facilitates fast and intuitive input of operational factors like spread length and splice points from clearly defined menu options. This failsafe display limits the options given to users based on various authorization levels, reducing operator errors and minimizing training time. The updated Windows-based operating system makes it easy to upload marker files via Wi-Fi (optional) from a remote computer location, or they can be generated on the spreader. The operator can select multiple files remotely to create a list. An input/output diagnostic analysis report is also available through the new colour display. Overall ease of use for the operator is simplified with the implementation of material file management capabilities. The user can save regularly used material parameters such as (but not limited to) speed, length of spread, acceleration, ply count, and cut mode, either on the machine or network connected computer, to ensure operational settings are uniform and optimized at any given time.
A new machine-mounted barcode scanner (optional) helps manifest information quickly and accurately across system platforms and enables accurate control over inventory or other variables that are tracked.
Gerber pitches digital integration for seamless supply chains
“People are looking for labour, and resources that are not as readily available as they used to be,” points out Mike Elia, CEO, Gerber Technology to underscore the importance of data-driven intelligent systems. Before the thriving hubs of today collapse in the face of rising wages, Elia is convinced that automation, not just in the form of operations but data capturing and analysis, must become a way of protecting and nurturing businesses. He elaborates his stance saying, “The key to success is a digitized network that allows you to move information throughout your supply chain down to the equipment level and back. And thus, integrating the flow of data and leveraging Internet of Things technology to provide companies with the valuable insight they need to remain agile and optimize their supply chain.
The Gerber line-up of Digital Solutions and exhibits at the show – Texprocess Americas in Atlanta – illustrated how companies can network their software and smart machines to form an end-to-end solution to help meet the workflow challenges of mass production and mass customization.
YuniquePLM transfers data to AccuMark® and AccuPlan™, Gerber’s intelligent pattern design, grading, marker making and production planning software. At this critical design stage, global teams can leverage Gerber’s AccuMark 3D to collaborate in a virtual environment, annotating and making revisions to a design to create a virtual sample – eliminating cost and time associated with making physical samples. Once the design is finalized, the data from the design files is run through AccuPlan to generate a marker and optimize material utilization.
Since Gerber’s Digital Solutions architecture uses common file structures, data can easily be passed to the cut room, where smart machines, like the GERBERspreader™ XLs series and Paragon® line of multi-ply GERBERcutters®, can process the order with a simple barcode scan. Gerber’s end-to-end closed looped Digital Solutions integrates software and smart machines, allowing companies to automate their entire process and streamline data and workflow.
Reshoring was being debated as a pertinent global trend with automation touted to be the enabler of the revolution. Elia however is cautious of a radical tilt, and instead terms it as restoration of balance in the global sourcing paradigms. “a large portion of the production will still be in Asia Pacific and I don’t see a total conversion,” he concludes.
A&E unveils App to ensure colour continuity
At the recently concluded Texprocess, A&E unveiled a one-touch solution for meeting the colour continuity requirements of the apparel and textile industry while encouraging more interactive collaborations. A&E’s Colorlink, available for both Android and Apple phones and tablets, serves as an end-to-end tool to connect designers and production managers in the thread colour selection process. The app offers a vast array of digital colour choices and provides more control over thread colour selection from design inception to the manufacturing floor, assuring designers that the personal connection to their colour story is maintained through production.
Colorlink features include an opportunity to easily specify thread colour and manage ideas on-the-go by enabling creation of personal thread colour collections, locating complementary thread colours, and placing selected colours on stiches and fabric types. The app also comes with the utility to easily organize and share project and thread colour details with colleagues and supply chain partners. Not only can the users request physical thread colour samples for confirmation, they can also connect with A&E’s global representatives. In addition, A&E Colorlink supports a companion device called COLORCATCH NANO, which is an advanced hand-held colour tool to identify colour on a variety of smooth, structured or patterned surfaces with the touch of a button.
“Our goal for Colorlink is to give designers and manufacturers an easy-to-use, go-to thread colour collaboration tool that not only provides colour inspiration, but also streamlines access to our expansive global colour platform and Colorlink palette,” shared Chris Alt, Senior Vice President – Sales, A&E.
Tukatech unprecedentedly expedites sampling process with TUKAcloud
The TC2 Cool Zone at Texprocess Americas congregates the ‘hottest’ technology available to the apparel industry. This year at the Cool Zone, Tukatech, a US-based provider of CAD/CAM solutions, introduced their latest innovation – TUKAcloud, the web-based digital sample room.
With key roles spread over several continents and time zones, the time wasted in developing samples can result in high cost and missed market opportunities. TUKAcloud connects the globalized product development process by facilitating collaboration between buyers and merchandisers, and vendors and manufacturers. TUKAcloud houses a digital database and reference library for 3D samples created in TUKA3D, along with the associated patterns, measurement charts, tech packs, and colourways.
The idea is to help designers and vendors collaborate by using TUKAcloud as a virtual sampling room. For the vendors, digital samples are organized into brand pages, so that each of their sample rooms have access to their respective digital styles. Since all files are located in the same TUKAcloud folder, those involved in product development can log in to view and download the required data directly from TUKAcloud, rather than searching through multiple people or locations for the information they need. 3D digital samples are approved internally before even one physical sample is made.
According to Dr. Mike Fralix, TC2’s CEO and President, Tukatech and TUKAcloud they have brought down product development cycle time by a significant proportion by reducing the lead time of the sampling process from at least 45 days (sometimes as many as 90 days), to five to seven days. “Since everything is approved on the Cloud, multiple iterations of physical samples are not necessary. If a sample must be cut and sewn, it’s only the final approved sample,” shares Ram Sareen, Founder & CEO Tukatech.
Once a sample is approved internally, it becomes available for the designer to review. The designer logs into TUKAcloud, where he/she can see a catalogue of all digital samples for their brand. The designer can see all colorways for each style, motion videos in color, tension and x-ray modes to analyse fit and aesthetics, and a 3D viewer to see all the details of the garment from any angle. In the 3D viewer, the designer can rotate, zoom, and pan a 3D model. He/she can make comments for the sample directly on the style page, which are sent to the 3D operator to make any required corrections. Since there is no software required, the designer can approve the digital samples anywhere, anytime. Approved 3D samples become digital references for next season, which means less redundancy and resources spent during product development on future styles.
“In the current sample room structure, a person will have to ask multiple people to locate the correct documents and patterns relating to a sample iteration. With TUKAcloud, they just go online and all the information is there for the sample. More time is then spent collaborating on new designs, and less about anxiously anticipating approvals,” points out Ram.
Martin Group exemplifies timeless technology
Martin Group’s presence at the latest edition of Texprocess Americas was replete with pointers of timelessly relevant technologies. Curiously enough, the Martin Group Booth attracted attention not for any new release, but for one of the oldest machines from the Group – MEPP series. Launched first in 1970, MEPP series is a double plate fusing machine that is still in production and is in tune with the safety and CE regulations. Developed to MEPP XTP series, the machine is of relevance for operations such as fusing, heat transfer, foil transfer, stone and strass application, and sublimation.
The distinction of this machine lies in the fact that it has been designed to work on uneven surfaces as well. “Usually in fusing machines, both the belts are solid and silicone-coated and there is limited cushion. In MEPP XTP the lower membrane, made out of caoutchouc, is inflatable, which makes it useful for performing operations on uneven surfaces,” shares Gianluca Benassai, GM, Martin Group. A significant application of the technology can be seen in furnishing jeans treatments directly on the finished jeans (with zippers and buttons). MEPP XTP has higher pressure, higher temperature and a special structure, in relation to the MEPP models, which permit it to work on thick materials. The machine’s versatility continues to reflect in its compatibility to work with materials such as silk and velvets. “Consider this machine to be an ‘eternal’ machine at a very low maintenance needed,” avers Anshuman Dash, Marketing Director, H&H.
Another industry where the MEPP series is really highly appreciated for its versatility is the leather goods industry, where the machine goes from ironing, to fusing leather, to press, to attach reinforcements.
As the manufacturing industry in the US is undergoing a bout of resurgence, Martin Group is certain the machine will find application. Furthermore the machine will appeal to the users for its electricity consumption which is as low as 9kW or 37.5 per cent of the conventional requirement. To do the same job as this machine of other makes, the manufacturer will need 8 units (of 3kW each). “The ROI for MEPP XTP in such a case is as low as one year,” reckons Gianluca.